Friday, 5 August 2011

Dr Choccy and The Loris (Anaemia Saga) part 1: The GP*

It would seem that Barney has sneaked online whilst I was recovering. Well I must say, first of all, that I am very impressed by Dave's ability to not only retain all that information but to relay it to the Barnster too. Such intelligent friends I have...

I think we are, by now, well aware of the fact that the life of the Loris never runs smoothly. And so it was with the most recent of episodes at one's Chelsea residence. It all began with what can only be described as a fothermucker of an horrendous haemorrhagic period lasting 10 days (see references to it in my blog post about the ENO Summer Celebration in June) and causing me to become utterly devoid of energy, to the point where I could hardly walk across the lounge to the kitchen, and making a cup of tea utterly wiped me out for hours. Seriously, it was awful.

After 10 days had passed and nothing seemed to be slowing down I made an appointment with the GP. I said I didn't care which of the doctors at the practice I saw as long as it was soon. I got an appointment for 3 days' time. So, the day arrived, got up and... guess what? Everything had stopped. I couldn't believe it! I know I'd been praying for it to stop, but... on the day I went to get it checked out?!? Seriously?! Lord, my body hoofs me off at times! What ensued, herein disclosed, all but eclipsed the previous ten days' bloody nightmare...

Went in to see the doctor (The Chocolate Teapot**, "Dr Choccy") and when I explained what had been happening over the last week and a half, things started to go downhill immediately:

Dr Choccy: Morning. What can we do for you today, [Loris]?
Loris: Hi. Well, I had a very heavy bleed. It's been horrific (goes into a small amount of detail) and I wondered whe... but she stops speaking after 40 seconds as Dr Choccy seems to either be suffering a stroke or... oh, no, no.. he's just yawning.
Dr Choccy: Er, what? hmm, yes, that can happen on Warfarin. How long have you been on Warfarin now, only a few months isn't it?
Loris: Er, no, fourteen, approaching 15, years...
Dr Choccy: oh... um.. has this ever happened before?
Loris: yes, but this is the worst that it has ever been, which is why I'm here - because I am concerned by it. I'm completely exhausted and wonder whether I might be anaemic (this was the giveaway clue to wake him up)? I'm really breathless, even when sitting down. Could it be my haemoglobin count dropping? Or my Iron counts? (the Loris really was trying to give him a chance to demonstrate his doctoring prowess...)
Dr Choccy: does not react. [Oh dear.]
After some moments...

Dr Choccy: yes, well, you were meant to be getting the [Chelsea pad] to write to me, as we still don't know anything about you. Can you do that please? Oh and get their psych' team to refer to our local mental health team about your depression as it'll be quicker than if I do it.
Loris: er, what, even for a patient that has documented suicidal thoughts and plans?
Dr Choccy: *SILENCE*
Loris: And what about this exhaustion and breathlessness? Could it be anaemia? (At this point the Loris pinches herself to see if this is some terrible dream. "Ow!" Nope. He really is stupid.)
Dr Choccy: Oh, yes, what drugs are you on, again? (He spins round to his trusty PC perhaps he's looking up the word 'anaemia' on A LOT of scrolling on the screen for my so-called non-existant notes later and the Doc chirrups:
Dr Choccy: what's this Amiodarone for?
The Loris, looking somewhat taken aback, incredulous, stunned, alarmed and irate at one and the same time manages to profer (through gritted teeth): For my arrhythmias. 
Dr Choccy: Ah, this is what you started on recently?
Loris: NO! I have been on those for 15 years, too...
Dr Choccy: Oh. Right. So why are you getting...oh yes. Right.
Dr Choccy: *tippety tappity at the PC with back to patient. SILENCE*
Dr Choccy's stance and lack of further utterances indicates to the Loris that his brain is now spent for the day. Which makes her feel bad for all the other patients, since it is only 11am...
Loris: OK, bye.
Loris exits consulting room door and a large sigh is heard issuing forth from her tired and struggling lungs. "The dumb-lazy-arsed BASTID", thought she, unto herself.

This was not a good day for the little Loris, who was by now utterly exhausted because her heart rate had increased considerably and she was now also trying to cross a busy road in order to get the bus home. She actually wanted to cry but didn't have the energy to!

Once back in the flat the Inked Eskimo saw all was not well and fixed a vat of tea and fed this Loris giant cookies, listening all the while to the ridiculous experience that had just sapped me clean out of energy and all desire to ever seek medical attention again.

However, I knew that I was not well and fading more by the hour, so I contacted one of the Nurse Specialists - called Diddy Di - at the hospital and arranged to have a full set of bloods taken when I went in for a regular INR check.

The next day the news was not great:

Diddy: Oh my gawd! You are very, very, very, very anaemic darlin'. I think we'll need to get you in for some iron top-up and quite possibly some blood. No wonder you feel like crap! You sound awful.
Loris: I bloody knew it. Stupid Dr Choccy, the Chocolate Fireguard. *FIZZ*

The next day Diddy called to say that a bed with my name on it was arranged for the Friday. Huzzah! I knew that in a few days I should start to feel a bazillion times better.

--- The Loris's experience in the hospital is reserved for the next post (it'll be worth the wait, trust me) ---

When I came off the phone from talking with Diddy, I was so relieved that I didn't feel so breathless for a moment - for the first time in a week I was actually able to yawn! I was trying to ignore the rising anger at the crap GP I'd seen. For a fairly young doc I would rate him as utterly devoid of focus, disinterested in both patient and post and just plain lazy. If he was 70 and long overdue his retirement I could understand (it still wouldn't be right, but I would understand), but he's not. Grrrrrr.

Now, I fully appreciate the fact that some doctors might find it difficult to deal with patients that either do some research about their symptoms (and self-diagnosing is always a dodgy thing) or actually know more than they do but it is no excuse to not listen, because maybe, when you, dear doctor, listen to what the (pesky) patient is saying you will learn something. It is my unwavering and constantly voiced opinion that doctors, and especially GPs, should endeavour to gain a full picture of each of their patients, so that they are aware of the circumstances surrounding certain of the health, lifestyle, cultural and maybe even religious factors impacting their life. It would be amazing if hospital consultants would also take the time to do this, too, but sadly such consults are few and far between...

So, this little Loris will not be making appointments with Dr Choccy the Chocolate Teapot again any time soon. She hopes other GPs at the practice are more competent... (But she's not holding her breath.)

Hospital escapades up next...

The Loris

* The "Part 1" in the title is there because there are many versions of 'Dr Choccy' in the realm of the Loris. Sadly. :(

© Dave Ansell, The Naked Scientists

**as you might expect of the Loris by now,she does like to be sure of the science to back up her rantings. She knows a thing or two about chocolate and heat, but if you don't believe her, then The Naked Scientists (heroes of the Loris) will show you just how useless a chocolate teapot is...